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Campus center plans include theater, variety of eateries

Tucked into the folds of East Pyne, the current student center does not draw in the weekend tourist or the passerby. But the nearly finalized plans for the Frist Campus Center demonstrate that the new building will not suffer the same fate.

By December 1999, renovations will transform Palmer Hall "from a private to a public building," said University Vice President and Secretary Tom Wright '62. "Trees, walkways and benches will give the quad in front of Palmer the feel of Chancellor Green," he added.

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An arcade will provide a space for student organizations to post announcements and hang flyers. This structure will be erected on the north side of the building.

Fast food

Four new entrances will open into the main dining room level. This new servery will contain four different food vendors, including a pizza/pasta station, a deli, a grill area and a "melting pot," said Stu Orefice, director of dining services.

As its name suggests, the "melting pot" will offer an assortment of foods. "It will have fare similar to Boston Market with ribs and chicken. It will also have vegan foods and featured entrees from student organizations," Orefice added.

The "commons," located one level above the servery, will contain upperclass mail boxes, a telecommunications office, a mail room and a convenience store, Dean of Student Life Janina Montero said.

Two additional food stations, a cafe and "a beverage laboratory" will also be on the main level, Orefice said.

"The cafe will offer similar fare to the Chancellor Green cafe but will have more luncheon items such as panini sandwiches," Orefice said.

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In addition, it will be equipped with an amplified sound system for a cabaret type of performance, Wright said.

Students will be able to access Dormnet from booths within the cafe as well as on the main floor of the commons, Orefice said.

The beverage laboratory combines a pub, a juice bar and a tea laboratory. Though "the program is still being defined," the beverage lab will offer alcohol only during evening hours because "there is a general sense that the community is not looking for alcohol during the day," Orefice said.

According to Orefice, the servery, the beverage lab and the cafe will operate from 7 a.m. until 1 a.m. on weeknights, with extended hours until 2 a.m. Thursday through Saturday. The convenience store may be open 24-hours per day.

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As if food and conveniences are not enough of a draw, the plans also include renovations for a "performance space whose primary function is to provide entertainment films almost every night, particularly late at night," Wright said.

It will be "as good as a modern mall cinema," he added.

The theater will seat 225 people on the ground floor and the small balcony. With its "excellent" sound system the performance space will "be a good place for groups like Body Hype, Expressions and Quipfire," Wright said.

The bottom level will serve as a multipurpose room and has a "capacity of 300-350 people at a seated dinner," Wright said.

"It will be used for conferences, parties and large presentations and can accommodate functions such as community service or job fairs," Montero said.

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